Governor Josphat Nanok has announced that the County Government is leading efforts to strengthen peace initiatives between communities living along the border with Ethiopia.

Speaking in Kibish yesterday when he hosted talks with a delegation from Nyangatom Woreda District of the South Omo zone, the Governor said the region stands to benefit from investment through the peace initiative that is supported by IGAD and the United Nation’s.

He revealed that a regional peace conference held in Addis Ababa explored development priorities for partners to invest to help reduce conflict that is fueled by a struggle for limited resources.

Administrators, security teams and other peace actors from Kibish and Nyangatom sides agreed to hold regular engagements and work closely to address causes of conflicts that occasionally threaten peace along the corridor.

The Governor acknowledged that water and pasture were the main sources of conflict and urged elders to take charge of assessment of grazing lands and water points, which will advise migration patterns for pastoralists. The teams agreed that peace talks will be driven by the communities.

He promised that the County Government will station a peace building officer to take charge of initiatives along the Ethiopian border from Kibish to Todonyang’; and mandated the Sub-County team to coordinate regular peace talks with the Ethiopian side.

Governor Nanok underlined the key role played by cultural exchanges through festivals like Tobong’u Lore, as tools for soft diplomacy and strengthening cohesion of the communities which share a common ancestry and culture.

On his part, Nyangatom Woreda Administrator Abraham Bongoso insisted the need for joint commitment to pursue cattle rustlers from both sides and strengthening of communication to boost relations. He agreed that youth involvement was key to success of peace initiatives.

Kibish MCA Jacob Nakuwa challenged political leaders to support peace efforts to end conflict at the corridor which he said had led to the loss of many lives.

The Governor later addressed residents of Kibish who had gathered for County Government relief food distribution where he reiterated his commitment to deliver on the development pledges promised during the election campaigns.

Accompanying the Governor were County Executive Committee Members Esther Lokwei (Public Administration and Disaster Management), Jane Ajele (Health and Sanitation), Emathe Namuar (Water Services, Environment and Mineral Resources), Chris Aletia (Agriculture,Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and Dr. Anthony Apalia (Lands, Energy, Housing and Urban Areas Management).

Others senior County Government officials were Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection Dr. Lolelea Natade, Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo, Advisors Cpt. (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang (Security, Peace and Borderlands Initiatives) and Boniface Korobe (Culture) among others.